A private-sector loan fund established in 2019 is supporting ambitious businesses in north east Scotland to achieve their growth plans, which will be vital to diversification and resilience in the wake of the economic shock delivered by COVID-19.
Opportunity North East (ONE) and the Andrew Salvesen Family Trust created the £2 million ONE Enterprise Fund to help SMEs to grow by providing funding for critical points in their growth. It is supporting investment by innovative businesses in new technology, manufacturing and production capacity, and jobs across the digital; energy; and food, drink and agriculture sectors.
The Fund has approved more than £500,000 of loans, and one of its first loan recipients has already repaid its funding. The Fund’s interest-free loans are repayable within five years. Recipients also benefit from engagement in ONE's business growth programmes and projects in the region. The Fund is evergreen with the amounts repaid becoming available for distribution in the future.
The Fund has also helped early-stage businesses to secure meaningful equity investment or achieve a significant commercial milestone.
The Fund’s loans support businesses with clear growth plans and address specific funding requirements which will enable the business to move forward at a critical stage in its growth. These requirements could include capital expenditure or working capital, commercially focussed innovation projects, export and internationalisation activity, or securing relevant skills and experience.
Representatives from the Andrew Salvesen Family Trust, ONE and other senior business leaders who understand the region’s industry landscape and growth opportunities sit on the Fund’s assessment panel. Loan applicants need to show they have strong leadership and commercial focus, established customers and well-defined routes to market, and profitability.
Patrick Machray OBE chairs the ONE Enterprise Fund’s assessment panel and is vice-chair of ONE. He said: “Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have one of the most enterprising economies in the country. We are leveraging this strength – the quality of our business leaders and the growth potential of our SMEs – for economic recovery and for long-term growth and diversification.
“The ONE Enterprise Fund was born out of a shared ambition for ONE and the Andrew Salvesen Family Trust to support entrepreneurial business growth and employment. The economic shock of COVID-19 has underlined the need to accelerate growth in enterprising SMEs. In growing businesses, there are points when funding can be difficult to secure or where funds are needed to leverage more investment – these are examples of where our Fund is making a difference. The positive response from businesses and investors demonstrates that it is meeting a funding need and supporting the goals of businesses and the regional economy.
“The Fund is supporting businesses at key points in their development so that they get ahead faster and create jobs for the future, and that’s more important than ever,” said Mr Machray.
Your privacy matters to us so if you want to find out more on how we keep your data safe, view our Privacy Notice or talk to ONE direct.